The 80th Annual Alabama FFA Convention was held June 3-5, 2009, on the campus of Auburn University (AU). The opening session began at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, June 3. Mr. James Paul Bailey, 07-08 State President, delivered the invocation. Mickey Humphries, State FFA Advisor, delivered a challenge to the members and advisors of the Alabama FFA Association. The Federal Land Bank Associations of Alabama, 2009 Corporate Sponsors of the Alabama FFA State Convention, brought greetings to the members, advisors and guests. The 08-09 District Officers and the 09-10 State Officer Candidates were introduced. Justin Posey from Montevallo was introduced as Alabama’s National Officer Candidate. The Past State Officers Alumni recognized the 2009 Wall of Honor recipients. Josh Sundquist was the keynote speaker for this session. He entertained the crowd with his inspiring and energetic presentation.
The second session began at 7:30 p.m. on June 3. National Chapter Award recipients were recognized along with the top five chapters in the state. The State FFA Officers honored their parents and advisors. Andy Revels from the Samson Chapter was named the State Star Farmer. Numerous teachers and supporters were recognized by receiving the highest honor the Alabama FFA can bestow upon someone, the Honorary State FFA Degree. Brittany Kendall Oliver from the Horseshoe Bend Chapter was named as the Future Farmer/Agribusinessman of the Year. Michelle Vasbinder from the Enterprise Chapter was named the recipient of the Mindy Stringer Memorial Scholarship worth $1,000. The Keel family presented the Hunter Keel Memorial Scholarship and Raven Buchanan gave her retiring address.
June 4, at 8:30 a.m., marked the opening of the third session. The Crime Prevention Awards were distributed recognizing the top chapters in the state with crime prevention activities included in their program. Chapters which had 100 percent chapter membership were also recognized. The M.K. Heath Animal Health Award winner was recognized and Anna Leigh Peek delivered her retiring address. CDE awards were given for the following areas: Agricultural Construction & Maintenance, Agricultural Mechanics, Creed Speaking, Dairy Cattle Evaluation, Extemporaneous Speaking, Floriculture, Forestry, Horse Evaluation, Land, Livestock, Nursery & Landscape, Parliamentary Procedure, Prepared Public Speaking, Poultry, Quiz Bowl, Safe Tractor Driving and Small Engines. Proficiency Awards were given for Agricultural Mechanics, Agricultural Sales and/or Service, Beef Production, Dairy Production, Diversified Crop Production, Environmental Science and Natural Resources Management, Equine Science, Floriculture, Forest Management, Fruit/Vegetable Production, Home and/or Community Development, Landscape Management, Nursery Operations, Poultry Production, Sheep Production, Specialty Animal Production, Swine Production, Turf Grass Management and Wildlife Management. Proficiency awards were also given out in the following specialty proficiency areas: Agricultural Communications, Agricultural Education and Forage Production. To close out the session the top six quartets vied for top honors in the quartet competition.
On Thursday afternoon, students also had an opportunity to attend the FFA Social sponsored by the AU College of Agriculture and the AU Horticulture Department. The event was held at the Alfa Pavilion. A meal was provided for the attendees which included donated potato chips from Golden Flake and ice cream from Blue Bell. At the close of the social, the Alabama FFA Alumni had an organizational meeting to renew the State Charter.
The fourth general session began promptly at 7 p.m. on Thursday. This session was changed from previous years to be a more fun and interactive session for the attendees. Awards were presented for the String Band Contest and the 1st Place String Band from Sand Rock performed for the crowd. Brandy Feltman and Michelle Vasbinder gave their retiring addresses and Laila Hajji, National FFA Central Region Vice President from the Guthrie, Oklahoma, FFA Chapter delivered her keynote address. Awards were given out to the top four quartets in the quartet competition. The convention was also privileged to hear the harmony of the state winning quartet from the Tallassee FFA Chapter.
The fifth general session began at 8:30 a.m. on Friday. Zachary Jones, 2008-2009 State FFA President, delivered his retiring address. Then the state officers gave their end-of-the-year reports. About 175 FFA members received their State FFA Degrees during the State FFA Degree Ceremony. The convention closed with the installation of the 2009-2010 State FFA Officers. The state officers were assisted with the announcement of the new slate of officers by the chair of the Nominating Committee, Heath Golden, an advisor from the Albertville FFA Chapter. The new State FFA Officers for the 2009-2010 school year are: President – Hunter Garnett from the Danville Chapter; Vice President – Mary Helen Jones from the Wetumpka Chapter; Secretary – Wiley Bailey from the Sand Rock Chapter; Treasurer – Kacey Colquitt from the Marbury Chapter; Reporter – Patrick Howard from the McAdory Chapter and Sentinel – Joey Stabler from the Daphne Chapter.
The new State Officer Team participated this summer in two training workshops. The first was Blast Off. This was a leadership workshop held in Montgomery, June 10–12, 2009, at the Drury Inn and Suites. This is a FFA-sanctioned training workshop, but Alabama includes all Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) in the training: FFA, FCCLA, HOSA, TSA, SkillsUSA, FBLA and DECA. During the Blast Off conference, the officers learned items like dinner etiquette, speech development and delivery, how to address a group, and various other leadership activities. The State FFA Officers then traveled to Raymond, Mississippi to attend the National Leadership Conference for State Officers (NLCSO) on June 16-19. They were involved with a four-day training program conducted by two of the National FFA Officers. Next they will be trained and learn to conduct and assist with the District Officers’ Leadership Conference and the Chapter Officer Leadership Workshops held in the three districts across this state. They will also have opportunities to meet with various public officials and become spokespersons for FFA and agriculture in Alabama.
For a listing of the CDE results from our State Convention, please visit our website: http://www.alabamaffa.org.
Jacob Davis is Alabama FFA Executive Secretary.